Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hangman's House of Legalities

by Nathan Stout (of AccordingToWhim.com)

I went to the first of the creative meetings for Hangman's House of Horrors. I know by now you have heard me talk and talk about the charity haunted house but I'd wanted to give you a quick report about the meeting we had and the interesting thing that popped up.


This series of meetings are designed to come up with a theme for the upcoming (2011) Halloween season. The thirty or so people there give up ideas on themes and room ideas for the haunted house. We all met in an unused portion of the building where the house is located. Everyone was split up into groups of five or so and then mulled over the ideas that were presented earlier in the evening. After that one person from each group gave additional ideas for themes and rooms.


The creative teams are made up of Core members. These are volunteers that have done at least 4o hours of work during the last season. I found myself in the midst of mostly teens and only a couple of older people. I gave my ideas and we all agreed on certain aspects of all the ideas presented. From this meeting the ideas will be boiled down and re-presented at the next meeting until final decisions will be made on the overall theme of the house and the various rooms.


The interesting bit that came up that night was that we got a late start because the owner of the house (and runner of the charity) D'Ann Dagen had been in meetings on the phone all day. Apparently the whole 'Open for Super Bowl Weekend' thing is getting a lot of press... perhaps too much. D'Ann told everyone that she had been on a three hour phone call with the licensing branch of the NFL earlier that day.


The NFL got wind of D'Ann's use of: 'Super Bowl' in her marketing.
Apparent that is a big NO-NO


Apparently the phrase Super Bowl is copyrighted (even though there is no copyright symbol used when you see it anywhere). They grilled her (I guess) and she had to do what she could to drop it off advertising. It is now called 'The Big Game'


They let her slide with everything that was already printed up (since it is a charity) but she couldn't use the term anymore.
So just for you D'Ann and everyone else the NFL has hassled about using it....
SUPERBOWL
SUPER BOWL
Super Bowl
super bowl
S U P E R B O W L

According To Whim is proud to talk to you about The Super Bowl that is coming to North Texas next weekend!

Isn't the Super Bowl great?

According To Whim and the Super Bowl... they go great together!!!!

Now for all of you who think you see the phrase 'Super Bowl' used everywhere think again. If you just consider it for a moment you will likely recall that what you usually see are phrases like 'The Big Game' or 'Game Time'. Even Walmart doesn't use 'Super Bowl' in their advertising. Sure, Bud Light, Doritos, and other companies that have paid the NFL a premium use it but most companies don't. This insight into the whole legality of using a phrase like 'Super Bowl' makes me really notice it's use (or lack thereof) all over the place now. I think it's really silly to have two such common words be the right of anybody.


Back in 2006 we started using Cafe Press to make t-shirts for the show. WCheck Spellinge started doing other designs and I made a shirt that had 'Caution' with a big exclamation mark on it. After a week I got an email from Cafe Press stating that they removed my listing because some company had the copyright the word 'Caution'. WTF?! I couldn't even fight it, Cafe Press just pulled it and told me to deal with it.


I attempted to do a little research into who owns what but I found it very hard to search the copyright website (at least casually).

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